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White Goods | Is the landlord responsible for them?

22nd May 2017

Who is responsible for the repair or replacement of White Goods supplied by a landlord to a tenant at the outset of the tenancy? Pain Smith Solicitors explain that the answer is quite simple. The landlord has no statutory duty to repair but may have a contractual obligation to do so and so might the tenant. Therefore, the terms of the tenancy agreement may need to be considered.

What are “White Goods”?

Put simply it’s the goods in your kitchen that were traditionally white before the modern world took over. So, appliances such as washing machines, fridge-freezers, tumble dryers and dishwashers.

Statute law

Where the landlord has supplied White Goods are they responsible for the repair if they break down? Section 11 of the Landlord and Tenant Act sets out a landlord’s repairing obligations during a tenancy term. The Act states that where a short lease (term of less than seven years) or periodic tenancy is in place then the landlord is responsible for:

  • keeping in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling, including drains, gutters and external pipes,
  • keeping in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling for the supply of water, gas, electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences) but not other fixtures, fittings and appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas or electricity, and
  • keeping in repair and proper working order the installation in the dwelling for space heating and heating water.

White Goods are not mentioned and so a landlord is not responsible for repairing any White Goods supplied to a tenant under Section 11. This is because of point 2 above which states that it does not apply to fixtures, fittings and appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas or electricity.

However, any electrical appliances that are supplied by the landlord must be safe pursuant to the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994. So, where they are supplied they need to be of a reasonable standard.

Contract

Therefore, in the absence of any statutory obligation to repair a landlord or tenant may be able to rely on a contractual term in the tenancy agreement. Some tenancy agreements will have clauses which require White Goods supplied by landlords to be repaired by landlords. However, where landlords require tenants to carry out any such repairs they should include a provision within the tenancy agreement. This provision should then be brought to the tenant’s attention prior to the commencement of the tenancy so that it does not come as a complete surprise to the tenant at a later date.

Where White Goods have been supplied by the Landlord we recommend that they carry out any necessary repairs. However, should landlords wish to transfer the responsibility to tenants they will need to ensure that they include a comprehensive provision within the tenancy agreement. New goods may have been supplied with a warranty or guarantee and certainly a landlord can rely on these. However, as items age that will not be an option and so clear drafting is vital.

Original content from Pain Smith Solicitors landlord and tenant solicitors, London.

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